With pandemic restrictions loosening and more people getting vaccinated, it comes as no surprise that AAA predicts that summer travel season is set to break records this year. The Memorial Day weekend is expected to be one of the busiest in years, with an estimated 42.3 million Americans planning to travel 50 miles or more from home, a 7% increase from 2022.
Air travel is expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels, with 170,000 more passengers than in 2019. Almost 3.4 million people are expected to fly to their destinations this Memorial Day weekend alone, an 11% increase from last year. This surge in demand, combined with higher jet fuel prices and lower capacity, has driven up airfare prices, particularly to destinations in Europe and Asia.
Despite higher prices, demand for flights continues to rise, with AAA projecting that Memorial Day weekend will be the busiest at airports since 2005.
Meanwhile, road trips are up 6% from last year, with 37.1 million Americans planning to drive to their destinations. Fortunately, gasoline prices are lower this year than in 2022, when the national average was over $4 a gallon. However, car travel is still expected to be just short of pre-pandemic levels by about 500,000 travelers.
In addition to air and road travel, more people are expected to take other modes of transportation such as buses and trains, with an estimated increase of 20.6% compared to last year.
AAA bases its travel estimates on data obtained from over 50,000 U.S. households each month. The organization defines the Memorial Day holiday travel period as Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29.
In conclusion, this summer travel season is shaping up to be one for the record books. As always, travelers are advised to plan ahead, book early, and be prepared for possible delays and higher prices.